November 11, 2022

We Got the Rules Wrong

One Rule to Ruin Them All

What do you do when you are playing a game and frustrated with it on a level that you cannot really describe? You’ve been playing with a friend of friend who knows the game” so well.

Let me tell you that the reason that our BattleTech Alpha Strike games have taken entirely too long to play. So much so that we have not played in about a year. My group of three who play have not been able to get together for a long time now. Part of that is that I haven’t wanted to get together to play for four hours for a single game where I destroy, and feel bad that it took that long to play (wishful thinking I know). It becomes tiring to set up and take down as well as drive minis and everything else over to the guy’s house we play at. I love playing games but it seems tedious and wears me out.

Our game before we got everything painted, printed and a new play mat. Sometimes playing with junk is just so good!

Well what if I told you that our games should be taking half the time due to a simple rule we have been getting wrong? If I were you I would say that you can go play more games now, and I hope I’m… I mean you’re right!

One Rule to Daunt Them

So what is this rule that we have goofed? Its simply that we have been adding out units TMM (Target Movement Modifier, it literally has target in the name) to our own attacks. So when we are always rolling for a 10+ on almost every attack of course we have a game that takes too damned long to play. By subtracting that 2 or 3 points from our attack roll, we can easily speed up the game and get it done in a couple hours, then maybe get another game into our day!

It doesn’t even say to add the TMM of the attacker, we literally just added the rule on our own. Image Taken from BattleTech Alsph Stike Commander’s Edition

Sometimes a game is not as bad you thought and you really should have just stepped back and asked yourself would the designers rally have done this to you?”

When everything else seems so fun and exciting, like having a 90 ton mech dropkick another mech and then they both blow up due to poor rolling, this has to be at least a decently designed game. Well the rule is not real we somehow added it after multiple rule reviews asking about whether the attacker’s TMM was also added in addition to the target’s TMM.

The thing that upsets me the most is why didn’t I just change the rule? If I was unhappy, and I’m pretty sure the other two players were feeling the same way. We should have just changed the damn rule to be more fun! With all of the TTRPGs I have played over the years I have come to learnt that the best way to play is the way that keeps you happy as a player and referee.

What stopped us from making the change? Is it the culture of war gaming to keep so stringently to the rules? I don’t know that I have the ability to take a full dive into war gaming culture, I am just really not prepared to do so. I do not have the pulse of miniature the war gamer like I do in TTRPG circles.

One Rule to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

I can however say that watching this video by Ash from Guerrilla Miniatures Gaming again after seven months really rings true to me. Also watching Chris McDowall in his process to re-imagine BattleTech into a new Mech game. By the way I am really excited to try this out, it brings in the best of Classic BattleTech (hit locations), and Alpha Strike (namely the speed of play which I have yet to experience, but assume it will happen next time we play) and makes the building of custom mechs so much easier.

My ComStar Command Level II (not pictured here is the Mercury for some odd reason)may soon get to see the battlefield again!

What is the point of all of this? Play more games and if the rules are getting in your way of having fun, then change them, make them fit with your group. Who cares about balance and swingyness, let those thoughts go and look to more fulfilling games that make you happy whether you are playing BattleTech, that 5th edition dragon game, or the most rules light game you can find. If you are not having the most fun you can be having make sure that your table is happy to change but you have the ability to do this, unless you are at some super strict tournament for the worlds most popular sci fi war game.

Ultimately make your own rules and come together around the table to have fun with friends. There is no reason to keep stumbling through a game when half the group are secretly wishing you had a better way to play, because you do.

Derek Bizier, your Halfling Rule Master

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